One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A writ of right issued for a tenant holding land of the monarch in chief.
Early 16th century; earliest use found in John Rastell (c1475–1536), lawyer and printer. From post-classical Latin praecipe in capite, name of the writ from classical Latin praecipe + in + capite, ablative of caput head.
praecipe in capite/ˈpriːsɪpi ɪn ˈkapɪteɪ/
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